Padmini (12 June 1932 – 24 September 2006) was an Indian actress and trained Bharatanatyam dancer, who acted in over 250 Indian films. She acted in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and Russian language films. Padmini, with her elder sister Lalitha and her younger sister Ragini, were called the "Travancore sisters".
12 June 1932
|Died||24 September 2006 (aged 74)|
|Other names||Natiya Peroli, Pappima, Thiruvancore Sisters|
(m.1961; died in 1981)
Chandra Kumar (brother)
Padmini was born and raised in Trivandrum (present-day Thiruvananthapuram), in what was then the princely state of Travancore (now the Indian state of Kerala). She was the second daughter of Sree Thankappan Pillai and Saraswathi Amma. Her sisters Lalitha and Ragini, were also well known film actresses. Together, the three were known as the Travancore sisters. Padmini and her sisters learnt Bharathanatyam from Thiruvidaimarudur Mahalingam Pillai. The trio were the disciples of Indian dancer Guru Gopinath. They learnt Kathakali and Kerala Natanam styles of dancing from him. N.S. Krishnan noticed her talents while she was presenting Parijatha Pushpapaharanam in Trivandrum. After that performance, he said that in the future she would become an actress. She was thus cast as heroine in his own production Manamagal.
The Travancore Sisters grew up in a joint family tharavadu (Malaya Cottage) in Poojappura, Trivandrum. Their mother was Karthiyayini Amma, whose husband was P.K. Pillai (Palakunnathu Krishna Pillai of Cherthala) alias "Penang Padmanabha Pillai". P.K. Pillai had six sons, of whom Satyapalan Nair, the youngest, was a leading producer of many early Malayalam films. They performed at the 1955 Filmfare Awards. Padmini was a leading actress and one of the highest-paid actresses of the 50's, 60's and 70's. She is also known as one of the charming beauty queens of the 50's and 60's. She was given the title "Natya Peroli" in Tamil Nadu because of her excellent Bharatnatyam performances in Tamil films. Her Tamil movie Thillana Mohanambal, is a cult classic of Tamil cinema and continues to be remembered even today. Her beautiful performance in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai was outstanding and made her a national star.
Padmini starred with several of the most well-known actors in Indian film, including Sivaji Ganesan, M. G. Ramachandran, N. T. Rama Rao, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Sathyan, Prem Nazir, Rajkumar, Gemini Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran. She appeared with Sivaji Ganesan in 59 films.
She acted mostly in Tamil films. Ezhai Padum Padu, released in 1950, was her first film in Tamil.V A Gopalakrishnan taught Padmini sisters Tamil, He was associated with Pakshi Raja studios. Her association with Sivaji Ganesan started with Panam in 1952. Some of her noted Tamil films include Sampoorna Ramayanam (1958 film), Thanga Padhumai, Anbu, Kaattu Roja, Thillana Mohanambal, Vietnam Veedu, Edhir Paradhathu, Mangayar Thilakam and Poove Poochudava. Some of her popular Malayalam films include Prasanna, Snehaseema, Vivaahitha, Adhyaapika, Kumara Sambhavam, Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu, Vasthuhara and Dolar.
In two of her popular Bollywood films — Mera Naam Joker and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai — she was paired with Raj Kapoor. She did another film with Raj Kapoor – Aashiq (1962). Her other Bollywood films include Amardeep (1958 film),Payal (1957), Afsana (1966), Vaasna (1968), Chanda Aur Bijli (1969) and Babubhai Mistry's Mahabharat (1965).
Her most famous was Thillana Mohanambal, a Tamil film, where she plays a dancer competing against a musician to see whose skills are better. She also acted in an Indian-Soviet film Journey Beyond Three Seas (Hindi version: Pardesi) based on the travelogues of Russian traveler Afanasy Nikitin (called A Journey Beyond the Three Seas, which is now considered a Russian literary monument), in which she plays Lakshmi, a royal dancer.
In 1961, Padmini married Ramachandran, a U.S.-based physician. She immediately retired from films, joined her husband in the United States, and focused on family life. Padmini was strongly devoted to her husband in a very traditional way and would perform all traditional poojas and worship with her husband as the focus. The couple were blessed with one son, Premanand born in 1963, who now lives in Hillsdale, New Jersey and works for Warner Brothers. Sixteen years after her wedding, in 1977, Padmini opened a classical dance school in New Jersey, named the Padmini School of Fine Arts. Today, her school is considered one of the largest Indian classical dance institutions in America.
Actress Sukumari was the maternal first cousin of Padmini and her sisters (the Travancore sisters). Shobana, the famous dancer, is the niece of Padmini. Malayalam actress Ambika Sukumaran is her relative. Actors Vineeth and Krishna are among her relatives.
Padmini died of a heart attack at the Chennai Apollo Hospital on 24 September 2006. She was hospitalized on the previous day when she suffered the fatal heart attack during a meeting with the then Tamil Nadu CM M. Karunanidhi. She was survived by a son, who is settled in the United States.
Padmini was well known for her professional rivalry with actress Vyjayanthimala, the successful dancer-actress. They performed a dance number in the Tamil film Vanjikottai Valiban; the well known song was "Kannum Kannum Kalanthu", which was sung by P. Leela and Jikki. In the song, they were pitted against each other. Due to their professional rivalry, the song has a cult following since the film was released; the popularity of the song surpasses the popularity of the film.
- 1954 – Film Fans Association Award for Best Actress
- 1957 – The "Best Classical Dancer Award" from Moscow Youth Festival
- 1958 – Kalaimamani Award from the Government of Madras State
- 1959 – Film Fans Association Award for Best Actress
- 1960 – Certificate of Merit for Veerapandiya Kattabomman at the Afro-Asian Film Festival
- 1961 – Film Fans Association Award for Best Actress
- 1966 – Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for Kaajal
- 1966 – Film Fans Association Award for Best Actress
- 1970 – Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress for Thillaanaa Mohanambal
- 1990 – Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South
- 2000 – Tamil Nadu State Film Honorary Award – Kalaivanar Award
- Filmfare Magazines
- Star & Style
- Remy Talcum Powder
- "Front Page : Queen of Tamil cinema no more". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 26 September 2006. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- Padmini Ramachandran – Indian Actress and Dancer – Obituary
- "Actress Padmini dead". Archived from the original on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "Friday Review Chennai : Beauty, charm, charisma". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 September 2006. Archived from the original on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Entertainment / Interview : The tillana glitter is intact". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 24 September 2004. Archived from the original on 30 November 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Beauty, charm, charisma". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 September 2006. Archived from the original on 28 February 2008.
- Padmini to relocate
- Randor Guy (26 March 2011). "Vanjikottai Vaaliban 1958". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- Sulochana Pattabhiraman (4 February 2001). "A role model". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2011.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- "Miscellaneous / This Day That Age: dated March 17, 2010: Afro-Asian film festival". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 17 March 2010. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.